Data Monday: The Voracious Mobile Consumer

by Luke Wroblewski January 8, 2012

When it comes to wireless network and mobile use, not all users are created equal. A small but growing percentage of people are gobbling up huge quantities of network traffic and the devices they use make a big difference in how much data they consume.

  • 1% of bandwidth consumers account for half of all wireless traffic worldwide in the World. The top 10% of users are consuming 90% of wireless bandwidth. (source)
  • 64 percent of these users are using a laptop, a third using a smartphone and 3% an iPad. (source)
  • In 2009, the top 3% of heavy users generated 40% of wireless network traffic. Now, these users account for 70% of the traffic. (source)
  • The heaviest users of mobile data watched videos 40% of the time, surfed the Web an additional 20%, and used up the rest of their online time in e-mails, social networking, file sharing and software downloads. (source)
  • 13.2% of the world’s 6.1 billion cellphones are smartphones, but the rate exceeds 30% in larger markets like the United States, Germany and Britain. In countries like Sweden and Finland, smartphones now account for more than half of all mobile phones. (source)
  • Finns consume on average 1 gigabyte of wireless data a month over an operator’s network, almost 10 times the European average. As more consumers buy smartphones, the level of mobile data consumption and congestion will rise in other countries. (source)
  • Median smartphone data usage at AT&T was up 888% and up 551% at Verizon this past year. (source)
  • Voice recognition software Siri has prompted owners of the iPhone 4S to use almost twice as much data as iPhone 4 users. (source)
  • An average user of Research In Motion's latest BlackBerries (Curve and Bold Touch), downloads about 20% of the data of an iPhone 4S user. (source)
  • Low-end data users are catching up rapidly with the higher-end users. (source)